March 16, 2023

OPINION: Florida faces a trident of trouble as permitless carry inches its way into law

OPINION: Florida faces a trident of trouble as permitless carry inches its way into law

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As a retired police chief with over 36 years on the job, I had the high honor and distinct privilege to be contacted by the Giffords Organization to speak at a function Monday about permitless carry, which is about to become law in Florida.

I am adamantly opposed to this for a variety of reasons, none greater perhaps than what I deem gun safety ignorance.

In discussions with the Giffords Organization that took place over the next weeks, I was thanked for my courage.

Surely, I was humbled by the thanks, but it also got me thinking.

Polls show, overwhelmingly that Floridians, at least in South Florida where I hail from, are against permitless carry, and that includes Governor DeSantis supporters.

I came to realize there is a silent majority against this bill, but I remind everyone that a silent majority is nothing more than a minority.

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In my speech Monday, I mentioned that without a doubt, again here in South Florida, the rank and file are not for this bill.

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“Gun safety ignorance is perhaps the greatest tribulation that flies out of this Pandora’s box that’s just been opening, and with this ignorance will come a whole array of issues that currently do not exist,” I said.

They may be elsewhere in the state or at least that was what I was led to believe from some respondents on Twitter who said the State FOP supported it.

Uhh, yeah, and what?  Do they speak for the entire rank and file?  Really?  Or just a vocal minority?

I am asking.  I am not insinuating.  I would never do that.

In reality, however, how can any cop, particularly in a busy, urban setting be for this?

Next came, “Oh you don’t support the Constitution.”

Uhh, once more, wrong.  I am a true believer in the Second Amendment.

I do think the First Amendment is more important, but it’s right up there.

Here is what I am against:  gun related violence and perhaps more so, gun safety ignorance.

Look, I love all the Amendments, ok?

Well, not the 18th Amendment, but the 21st took care of that.

Besides, in my entire career I kept a copy of the Bible (both Testaments) and the United States Constitution.  I read both frequently.  Thank G-d and thank James Madison that neither one has been banned….yet.

Nonetheless, I am looking at a three-pronged issue here in Florida; a trident of trouble.

I just spoke of the permitless carry.

But this fight was two minutes into the final round, and we were way behind on points with little left in the tank.

That takes me to the second sharp portion of the trident.

If you think permitless carry is a concern, and it is, just wait for its second cousin (or as they refer to in some states, a spouse) called open carry.

That opens up a whole new set of concerns for law enforcement.

Matt Gaetz and his daddy tried to push that one through in 2015, but it went nowhere fast.

Most sheriffs opposed it.

It appears now, most are for it.

I am not quite sure, regardless of who the sheriff was or is, how officer safety concerns are not as important.  Hmmm, what has changed?

And for those in law enforcement who think the Republicans have law enforcement’s best interests at heart, please review the Gaetz proposal from 2015 and you tell me how that would have benefited law enforcement.

But never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Governor DeSantis was apparently recorded on March 2 stating he supports open carry.

“Yeah absolutely” he apparently said. Well, that sort of sums it up.

A spokesman for the governor stated, “The governor strongly supports the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms and he has repeatedly state publicly that he hopes to sign a constitutionally carry legislation this year.”

Since we are throwing around the word “Constitution” so freely, I ask to no one in particular, “What about my Constitutional rights to keep from getting gunned down by some schmuck with a Napoleonic complex who think he is the Resurrection of Marshall Dillon?”

First, you can get a permit. But that’s not enough.

Then you will be able to permitless carry.

But that too, is not enough.

What can go wrong with two gunslingers calling each other out in the middle of downtown Miami?

As they say in the old knife commercials, “But wait there’s more!”

Two Republicans in the State House now want to lower the age to purchase a rifle from 21 to 18.

It was raised from 18 to 21 in 2018 after Parkland.

Are the reasons the minimum age to buy a gun was raised no longer pertinent?

Why would HB1543 be filed as a step to take this state further back?

Oh wait, let me guess: something about the Constitution.

But the age raising met the scrutiny that was a launched five years back.

Chief US District Judge Mark Waller mentioned that the restrictions on those 18-20-year-olds buying guns was comparable to the restrictions that Justice Scalia wrote of in his District of Columbia v Heller opinion.

This trident is concerning.

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Speaking of Trident, four out of five people (dentists included, I assume) would probably love to avoid getting caught in some crossfire of lunacy.

By the way, Poseidon used his trident to create storms.

David Magnusson is a retired police chief with 36 ½ years of law enforcement experience having spent 30 of these years with the Miami Police Department retiring as an assistant chief. He was chief of the Havelock Police Department in the Marine Corps City of Havelock, North Carolina, home to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He returned to South Florida as chief of the El Portal Police Department.

He chaired the COVID and Domestic Violent Extremism Committees for the Association of Miami Dade County Chiefs of police. He teaches about Hate Crimes, Violent Extremism, and Inclusive Policing to law enforcement agencies.

A historian, Magnusson has written on military and presidential history topics. He is a diehard baseball (St. Louis Cardinals) and boxing fan. Magnusson resides in South Florida with his wife. Their children and grandchildren are never too far away.

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